Dan Koop is an Artist, Producer and Facilitator working in public and unusual spaces. Creatively, he makes performance works in unexpected and public spaces that engage audiences to become participants. Professionally, he has worked for contemporary multi artform venues and festivals in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and London. As a Facilitator, he has hosted conferences for hundreds, taught small tutorials and worked as a conduit between community groups and arts organisations. He holds a Masters of Public Art from RMIT University and casually teaches at several tertiary institutions around Melbourne.
Vicki Couzens, Artist
Vicki Couzens is a prominent artist and Gunditjmara Keerray Woorroong woman from the Western Districts of Victoria, who plays an active role in promoting the culture of her people. She has served on the boards of the Koorie Heritage Trust Inc and the Victorian Corporation for Aboriginal Languages. A number of Vicki’s paintings have been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria. Aditionally, she has played a prominent role in major public art projects includingbirrarung wilam on the bank of the Yarra River in Melbourne with other Indigenous artists Treahna Hamm and Lee Darroch. She had a central role, as Artistic Director, of the statewide Possum Skin Cloak project which was presented during the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.
Steve Ellen, Director, Psychosocial Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Steve is a professor of psychiatry at Melbourne University and director of the Psychosocial Oncology Program & Cancer Experiences Research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. Steve is a frequent media commentator on health matters. He appears weekly on Melbourne’s ABC Radio as part of “Writs & Cures” exploring the latest issues in medicine and the law, and is part of 3RRR’s Radiotherapy team where he appears as Dr DoLittle.
Darius Kedros, Sound Artist
Darius Kedros is a sound designer, composer and the founder of the Melbourne-based immersive sound experience company, Sonic State Design. Working across theatre, installation, virtual reality and radio/podcast, Darius has created for the ABC’s Radio National, Melbourne Theatre Company, Festival of Live Art, Scienceworks, Federation Square, Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne Music Week, The Wheeler Centre, and Asia TOPA. Relocating from the UK in 2013 Darius’ northern hemisphere credits include The Rambert Dance Company, Momentum Pictures, the BBC, and Virgin Records.
Jean Taylor, Writer/ Activist /Feminist
Jean Taylor was born in Melbourne in 1944, and raised in country Victoria. Pregnant at 17, married at 18 and with two children by the time she was 19, she came out as a lesbian in 1979. Jean has worked in a variety of jobs including nursing, waitressing, women’s refuge work and tram driving. She has been a member of various feminist activist collectives in the Women’s Liberation Movement since the early 1970s, including the Victorian Women’s Liberation and the Lesbian Feminist Archives. She has also performed with lesbian theatre groups and the Women’s Circus (where she learned how to walk on stilts at age 47) and initiated and directed the Performing Older Women’s Circus for women over 40. Jean has written several novels, plays, short stories and some poetry and began self-publishing her books in 1976, including Sappho’s Wild Lesbians and Loose Women, under the pseudonym of Emily George and the logo of Dykebooks. She is the author of The C-Word: A Story about Cancer (2000) and co-editor of Women’s Circus: Leaping Off the Edge (1997).
Nicki Morrison, Registered Nurse, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Nikki has worked as an Oncology Nurse at the Peter Mac since 209, working across various departments including the Chemotherapy Unit, the Radiotherapy Unit, the In-patient wards, Operating Suite, Diagnostic Imaging, the Clinical Trials Unit, and, as a Specialist Breast Nurse Consultant. Since the early days of her nursing training, Nikki has been drawn to the care of the dying patient. Indeed, this passion for end-of-life led Nikki to undertake a Pastoral Care Internship at Peter Mac in 2013, as well as more recent trainings in End-Of-Life Doula, Funeral Celebrancy, and Bereavement Counselling. Nikki is a passionate member of the Natural Death Advocacy Network, a movement committed to empowering choice at end of life, as well as the Australian Doula College. Nikki’s varied training and both professional and personal experiences have convinced her of the critical importance for an ongoing public discourse around death and dying such that every individual is equipped to make informed and individualised choices around their end-of-life experience. Indeed, Nikki is staunchly committed in her efforts to educate, empower and advocate in the end-of-life space. Further to this, as a qualified Reiki Practitioner and Yoga Instructor, Nikki’s studies in various Eastern philosophies supports her efforts to offer a genuinely holistic and sensitive approach which seeks to invite and honour a sense of the Sacredness of Spirit in her work.
Bonita Ralph, Death Doula
Bonita Ralph has a professional background in child, adolescent and family support, community development and social justice. She now brings these skills in to the work of holding space for people at the end of life, natural death care, holistic funeral work and conversations around death literacy. As a mother to 3 daughters, 2 who were born at home, Bonita has always respected the ability for families to intuitively know how to care for their own, especially when they have died. Bonita acknowledges the parallels that exist in the intimate space of birthing and dying. When holding space in both places, we strive to know our options, to have familiarity, role modelling, ritual and allies. Her lived experience has often shone a light into the dark corners of life and with that she accepts we can’t always explain or accept life’s events, but we can take a deep breath and surrender to the moment. Bonita invites vulnerable conversations and believes the more we lean into the mystery of death, the more alive we become.
Stephan Skov, Music Therapist
Stephan Skov is a Denmark-born singer/songwriter/producer who recently moved to Melbourne. Stephan completed a five-year masters degree in Music Therapy at Aalborg University in Denmark, as well as a four-year singing teacher education with specialisation in solo performance, singing techniques and voice rehabilitation at Voice Embodiment (now called the Anne Rosing Institute) in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is currently working as a senior music therapist and audio engineer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he employs music as a powerful form of transformative therapy for palliative care patients in their final days and in oncology helping cancer patients cope with their treatments.